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Last week I had the great joy of being able to spend six (6!) hours in the home affairs department. I arrived with a good book, what I thought was a good attitude and a good sense of humour. By the time I had finished my book, my good attitude and sense of humour had long since left the building... But, it did give me the opportunity to reflect on a few things, which have stayed with me:
1. We often misdirect our anger. Yes, it was six hours, and everyone had places to be and things to do. And yes, there were some inefficiencies within the home affairs system that could be improved upon. But I noticed that the people who work at home affairs, doing their job as best they can often with limited resources and staff, were often the unfortunate target of people’s frustration at being made to wait for so long. So often our anger and frustration are misdirected to the person nearest to us at the time. It happens at home too – a bad day at the office means we are short-tempered with our family; anxiety over finances lowers our tolerance levels when driving in traffic. I was reminded again of the need to not only be able to name our emotions but recognise where they come from so we can manage them appropriately.
2. We can find joy in the most surprising places. There was a beautiful comraderie that existed amongst us ‘long-term queue-ers’. People chatted. We shared stories and experiences. We interacted with people who were so different from our selves, in ways we never would have, had we not been forced to sit (rather snugly) on a bench for six, long, hours. When someone was forgotten, everyone else leapt to their defence. When a new-arrival tried to jump the queue, we closed ranks. We were united in hoping we each made it through that day. And it happened because we were forced to stop, and wait. How much we miss out on because we rush through life! How often joy comes in surprising ways. Even though the day was long, it was redeemed by joy I found in being connected with others.
When you find yourself angry, or frustrated this week, won’t you pause before you speak, and ask yourself if your reponse is necessary, helpful, or kind? And this week, when you find yourself in unexpected situations, won’t you look intentionally for the joy that might be found there?